Halo:Trapped In A Wonderland

by SuperIntendant

Chapter 16: Delicate Negotiations

Chapter 16: Delicate Negotiations

Shinning was going to need a shower after this. Maybe even some bleach. He had been crawling along the dirt and ashen ground for the best of part of ten minutes. He wasn't one to gripe, especially about his job, but dammit, Celestia didn't pay him enough for this. His duties were supposed to be protecting the land. Not go on some wild alien hunt. Then again he reasoned that this was technically protecting his country. Sure was an odd way of doing it though.

When Shinning and Bronze Carapace has gathered their six best guards they promptly headed down to the secondary war-room for a brief from Luna. What counted as a brief for Luna was a quick talk on known alien abilities, location and a pat on the back before being whisked off by express chariot to a place that better resembled Tartarus than the outskirts of humble Ponyville. Life sucked sometimes. Swallowing his pride, Shinning remembered the old guard saying from nearly two thousand years ago. 'If we don't do it, who will?'. Those words rang true in his ears now more than ever and with renewed vigour he redoubled his efforts to drag himself along the ground towards the nearest piece of wreckage. Finally reaching his destination, Shinning scrabbled up against the large hunk of metal and placed his back firmly against its wedged form. This 'junk' had been sitting here for hours at least and it still felt warm to the touch. If it was warm now, then it must have been white-hot before. Shinning sat on his haunches and looked to his left to observe his three members of the team pull up behind similar pieces of wreckage. Turning to his right he counted three more guards who were of the lunar variety. Three solar guards and three lunar, but where was Bronze Carapace?

Something immediately dashed out of the shadows and skidded into cover next to him, bringing up a cloud of ash and dirt as it went. Shinning waited for the grime to clear from his vision before coming face to face with none other than Captain of the Lunar guard. Shinning scowled and lightly punched the stallion in the shoulder, causing Bronze to flinch slightly. "Was that really necessary?" Shinning whispered. He wanted to throttle Bronze Carapace for being such a show-off. It was the middle of a mission, even if Bronze did manage to pull it off silently. Bronze merely smiled slightly before drawing a compound crossbow from his back.

"It's called 'dynamic entry'." Shinning merely huffed at the remark before pulling his own crossbow out.

"I'll make sure my hoof makes a dynamic entry to your face in a second, if you don't quiet down." Shinning Armour didn't really hate Bronze Carapace. He just often disagreed with his methods and attitudes towards the job. He liked to keep things professional... usually, and strictly by the book. Carapace was a bit more free spirited in his work. Unorthodox tactics combined with a natural flare to his every move, made him a rather annoying comrade and an even more annoying combatant. Many a time during sparing matches, had Shinning fallen to his feint attack patterns and he hated it. That wasn't to say Bronze didn't take his job seriously, quite the opposite in-fact. Shinning couldn't think of anyone who took their job more seriously than Bronze. The only difference between the two of them was a silly streak a mile wide.

Finishing with their little banter, Shinning reached into his quiver and pulled out one of the many bolts given to him for this mission as did the rest of the guards about him. He wasn't a smart colt, but damn did the egg-heads do a good job on these. Hard to make and extremely rare in the Equestrian military, these magical star-fire bolts were the stuff of legends. Shinning looked down at the magnificent piece of equipment and began to study it further. From what he had learned in the guard academy, Shinning could glean quite a bit from these projectiles. The main shaft of the quarrel was made from rigid and perfectly weighted plastics. Shining remembered that before the invention of plastics in his time they used to be made from magically infused wood. Still, progress had to make sacrifices, though he would rather put his life in the hooves of magic rather than technology any day. Bringing his eyes to the tip he noticed what really made them special. Each star-fire bolt was tipped with a gem, magically infused to be lighter, stronger and explode with a compact yet powerful blast of magic. The brutal little buggers were known to leave small craters in creatures struck by the bolts menacing fire-power. Princess Luna really had pulled out all the stops to make sure this creature was captured. Shinning wasn't one to question a royal's orders but something seemed off about the way his princess acted when briefing him and his team. Almost as though the princess was hiding something. Shinning shrugged it off in the end, coming to the conclusion that orders were orders and he could ask questions once the menace was locked up tightly in a guard interrogation room.

Turning back to Bronze Carapace, Shinning offered the pony a curt nod which he eagerly returned before motioning for his Lunar guards to move up. Shinning responded in kind, sending his own Solar guards scurrying forwards to the next line of cover. Princess Luna had warned them that the vessel would most likely carry more of the aliens species and he was to be prepared for a fight. Having scoured the wreckage thoroughly with telescopes, the elite team of guards had concluded that all the aliens had remained inside the vessel or were already all over the local landscape. Shinning prayed it was the former rather than the latter and ordered his guards to move up once more. The Lunar guards follows in kind, darting from cover to cover with grace, comparing them to the smallest of shadows. Shinning was almost jealous for their advance espionage skills but remembered it would count all for naught when they faced the monster that supposedly had eyes in the back of its head.

One of Luna's main points of the meeting was to discuss battle doctrine, which Shinning found odd at first but soon realised why it was so important and why they were given these crossbows and quarrels in the first place. From what she had seen in the aliens magical moving pictures, Luna had explained that the creature had this device which gave it 360 degree awareness of its surroundings. Not only that but the creature carried devices which Luna had described to spit fire straight from the depths of Tartarus at its foes from incredible distances. Shinning had asked why they simply could not engage it in close quarters then before Luna laughed and explained how the creature had bested both her and her sister who had the magically enhanced strength of ten buffalo and hundreds of years in fighting experience. If ranged combat was risky, melee was outright suicide. Luna's explicit orders after that harrowing information was to bring at least one alien back alive. Any others were fair game, a description Shinning Armour found slightly sickening.

Finally reaching the final line of wreckage, both Shinning and Bronze motioned for their comrades to halt their advances. While the ramp was ajar to what Shinning assumed was the aft of the ship, there was no way they were going to huddle into confined space to be picked off by the creature and any possible allies it had. Getting up close, Shinning could now perfectly understand how large this space boat was. The vessel was easily triple the size of his sisters library home and easily outmatched any Equestrian naval vessel. Shinning supposed that the Gryphon's probably had something large in either their navy or newfangled air navy consisting of giant hot-air balloons but who knew how big this thing was compared to most alien vessels. For all he knew, they could have something the size of Canterlot, maybe even bigger.

Turning his head to the horizon, he saw how large the smoke plumes were getting, sitting just over the crest of the hills in the distance they danced and flickered like young foals, almost taunting him to ditch his current mission and join the hard working mares and colts halting the advance of whatever war-machine these aliens had dumped on this planets surface. The main response teams sent out not too long ago seemed to have halted the invasion's advance. Whether this was because they were winning or simply buying time, Shinning couldn't tell but they hadn't heard word back from them since. Princess Celestia had given them dragon scrolls to courier messages but nothing had arrived by the time they had departed for the Equestrian wilderness. Night was beginning its slow creep up the eastern horizon and the already dust chocked air made this particular area look as though it was already well into the late hours of dusk. No matter, Shinning had a good eye and a keen shot. The aliens would have troubled out shooting him. Turning back towards Bronze who was now with his guards spread out to the right he motioned for his guards to spread out to the left, creating a semi-circle around the opening to the ship. A few moments of silent body language later, Shinning levitated a stone from the floor and took several deep breaths before launching it at the metal surface of the alien's machine. It made a loud thunk which nearly deafened him in his overly aware state and he quickly braced against the cover, practically hugging it for dear life with his back.


42 sat inside the medbay of the Cloak 'n Dagger with a severe migraine developing inside his trans-human brain. It wasn't Katherine, no. She had grasped it all quite a while ago, just Spartans being quick learners he guessed. What had pissed him off was in the time it took the mint green pony known as Lyra to heal, 412 Halting Transgression had not stopped examining both her and him along with Kat while humming a bloody annoying tune to himself which he had not stopped since nearly forty minutes ago. Finally having enough, 42 got up and slapped both his thigh plates before walking off into the main corridor. Exploring briefly along the smooth surfaces of the ships sternum he came across a bulkhead which opened for him, albeit at a slower pace than he would've liked. Finally stepping through, he was greeted by a warm sight. Weapons lined up in racks stretching across the entire room. From the humble Magnum all the way up to an M6 G/GNLR Spartan laser. Sensing the need to swap up his armoury 42 quickly got to work sorting and picking between the various weapons on offer. After a mere minute, 42 had settled on the older M392 variant of the DMR, an M45D Tactical Shotgun and an M6C Magnum. Knowing resupplies would be far between while exploring this installation, he needed the most ammo efficient weapons he could think of.

Finally feeling content with his equipment, 42 went to leave back to the medbay before he remembered something and reached back in to pull out a few spare batteries for his T-1 Energy Sword. This little bugger was way to good to leave uncharged. Walking back down the corridor, 42 had just hit the witch to open the medbay bulkhead when a small 'thunk' echoed through the ship. He wasn't the only one to hear it as Katharine's head bolted up and made contact with his gaze. A silent nod was performed between the two before she got up and made to follow him outside. The familiar buzz of the monitor was heard a he followed close behind the pair. Lyra went to follow the but was stopped by a disproving stare from 42. She sat down again on the medical bed and did her best attempt at twiddling her thumbs, with hooves.

42 pulled his helmet from its magnetic clamp and slapped it back on his head with an audible hiss and click before buzzing 16 on her private comms channel. "How're you taking it?" 16 paused a moment but continued walking forwards now keeping slightly behind 42 rather than level.

"What? The fact that this place is bat shit crazy or the fact that I'm stuck here for god knows how long?"

42 chuckled slightly into the comms before whistling and motioning a small explosion exiting the side of his head, causing 16 to growl slightly through his speakers. 42 was going to say something else but was quickly cut of by 16 edging in her own word or two. "But seriously though. I was one of the teams sent down to help secure Installation 03. This is a cake walk in comparison to that little rodeo. At least I get to put my feet up here y'know." It was at this time a small buzz filled the intercom in both their helmets and a small metallic voice chimed in.

"If it aids you in maintaining protocol reclaimers, I can transfer my aeons of research notes to your personal information suites? Though I may have to compress it first. Scans suggest you do not have the required internal memory to store all relevant information for this course of action."

42 was surprised but 16 beat him to the punch and opened her mic first. "What the hell! Who invited the tin can to the chat!?"

"Apologies reclaimer. I did not realise the basic algorithms of your communications channel was an attempt at security."

"Heyyyy. Was that a wise crack. How'd you like it if I cracked the butt of my gun over your head... thing."

"I assure you reclaimer. No harm was meant by stating the functionality of your secluded communications channel. though I do recommend my inclusion for improved team cohesion."

At this point it was time for 42 to butt in. "The 'tin can' stays. Lets us keep our confidential conversations regarding the installation, actually confidential."

16 grumbled but replied anyway. "Fine. But if that scrap head insults my armour one more time I'm going to introduce him to the wrong end of my Battle Rifle." 42 just brushed it off as friendly banter and finally led the group to the edge of the corridor which dropped down into a ramp which led to the scorched and beaten ground of the Equestrian countryside. Pulling out his DMR, 42 stepped down the ramp with 16 and 412 close behind. Reaching the bottom of the ramp 42 switched on his flash light and took a further step forward before scanning around. Shadows were cast everywhere he looked by the illuminating beam shooting from his helmet. Nothing seemed to be out there but he could of sworn he head something. He nudged 16 with his elbow and motioned for her to move right while he moved left. Not even five steps had been made before the metallic voice of the monitor rang over his comms.

"Reclaimers. I'm detecting slight life signs all around our frontal approach." 42 turned back to look at the monitor but was quickly cut off as a large whooshing sound filled the air. Working on pure instinct, 42 dived out of the way and went into a roll, coming up on his knees and immediately firing on the rough position of the projectiles origin. Glowing bolts of energy began shooting from all in front of him as he masterfully ducked and weaved until he came up behind a small piece of wreckage jutting from the ground. Large shafts of light began crashing against the corners of his cover and looking to his left, he was 16 in a similar state of affairs. Crouching low behind her own piece of cover along with Halting Transgression she shot a look over at 42 through her helmet which he could easily guess the meaning behind. His comm channel buzzed and he opened it up to get an earful right off the bat.

"Yeah. So much for fucking friendly."

"I don't know what's going on. Let me clear this up. They know me, they're probably just scared of you crashing here is all. Watch." 42 stood up from behind his cover and called out over the sound of, what appeared to be magical crossbow bolts. whizzing past him with a distinct hiss. "Hey! We're friendly. Cease fire, cease fire!" The bolts stopped suddenly and 42 breathed a sigh of relief. He stood up even further and started to step out of cover when a bolt crashed into the left side of his helmet and sent him stumbling before regaining his composure and diving back behind his diminutive piece of cover. Checking his shields, the arcane bolt had managed to do a fairly hefty number on it by primitive standards. About an eighth of his shield bar was gone but quickly shot back up as the shield generator did its job. Looking over to 16 she motioned to him for options before pulling back on the charging handle of her Battle Rifle. He slotted a fresh clip into his DMR and pulled his own charging handle before nodding to 16. She began pulling a fragmentation grenade from one of her pouches as 42 leant around his cover again from a different location before calling over to the various ponies clad in armour, now visible all around his frontal view.

"All right! You asked for this! All pony allies are now labelled potential hostiles." And with that he began peppering the area one of the ponies shot him from while 16 lobbed a grenade overhead and towards their general vicinity.